Red Rose Cane

I’m back to making canes!  This is “Cane 840”.  I keep a photo of every cane I make, and just number them rather than giving them all names.  That makes things easier for when I do remakes like this one — this is a remake of a cane I made back in 2005.  It was one of my favorite designs, and I decided to bring it back.  I’ll be making this cane in other colors — pink, white, and purple.  I do sell my canes, and you can find this one in my etsy shop.

antique rose
cane840

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Take Online Classes From Me

I’m so excited to be announcing this!  Starting in January 2015, you can take an online class from me and 21 other polymer clay instructors through the Virtual Retreat at Polymer Clay Adventure.  That’s 22 classes for only $99, and you can take those classes all year long!  Talk one-on-one with the instructors, share your projects– it’s like experiencing a real retreat without having to leave your home, and at a fraction of the cost of attending one in person.

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cane828I’ll be teaching my newest flower cane, a Frangipani Cane.  This design is quickly becoming a favorite of mine, and it’s something even a beginner can make.  Use the cane to decorate crochet hooks, light switch covers, wine glass stems, silverware handles— anything that strikes your fancy.  Lots of lovely floral projects can be made with this cane and you’ll find that you return to it again and again.

Win FREE Merchandise!

Lately I’ve just been coasting with polymer clay.  No real highs, no real lows… just:  well, I had other things on my mind.

I was talking to my #1 daughter-in-law the other day, and she just asked me a bunch of questions about how I was doing with my clay.  My answers kindof surprised me– I didn’t realize I’d slid into a bit of a rut until I heard it coming out of my mouth.  She’s a pretty perceptive chickie, and she gave me a few suggestions that really got me motivated again.  Most of those things surrounded reconnecting with the people who clay.  That’s really where I get my energy from.  Sharing stuff we’ve made, talking about this project or that Pintrest pin, etcetera.

So as I mulled over what she said, I decided to do something I’ve never done before:  have a giveaway.  And thinking about it and doing some research about how to do a giveaway actually got me pretty excited.  It’s a fun way to reconnect and just restarted my motor, plus some lucky soul gets to spend 25 bucks shopping in my store.  I can’t wait to see who wins!

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Corset #3, Butterick 5662 (part 1)

Okay, so I’m starting a new corset.  Using the same pattern as I did with the Steampunk overbust corset.  It’s Butterick 5662, a modern hourglass silhouette that I’m really liking.

Initially I’d thought I wanted this corset to be curvier than the last one, with more hip spring (the measurement between the corseted waist and the iliac crest –the top of the hip bone).  So I’d ignored the good advice about using Big 4 corset patterns:  go down 4 sizes from your measured size when making these corsets because they still have built-in ease.  With a properly fitted corset you need negative ease.

But silly me, not thinking straight I figured I needed to make a bigger size so that I had more room in the ribs and hips.  That was a big mistake.  The first mock up was so huge that it barely stayed up on my torso, even laced fully closed.  The second mock-up, after I’d removed 4 panels from the back of the corset, barely gave any reduction at all.

So I learned my lesson well, and returned to the advice of experienced corset makers:  When using a Big 4 pattern (Butterick, McCall’s, Simplicity, or Vogue):  go down 4 sizes.  And that’ll get you close.

Here’s my third mock-up of this corset, altered to have the top hem come just below the bust, and the bottom hem to come below my hip to my lap.  Much, much better fit, although it’s still a trifle too big because I can completely lace it closed in the back.  And the waist reduction here is only a modest 1.5 inches.  I’m looking for a reduction of 4-6 inches.  So still need to do some adjustments to the seam allowance.  But it’s progress!
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Bejeweled Lace Collar

1896914_10152369812870337_972573470_nIn my post about how to alter a wedding dress that’s too small, I showed a picture of the bride wearing a lace collar I had made to go with her dress.  This was a very special piece, because it included elements from her wedding dress that we had removed in order to turn the dress from a zip-up to a lace-up.  You can see the back of the dress that we altered here, plus a peek at the collar.

lace-doilyWhat led up to making that lace collar for Katie’s dress was a Pintrest pin I’d run across, a few weeks prior.  It was a link to this tutorial for making a Battenburg lace collar, and I immediately fell in love with the idea.  I wanted to make one so badly!  Not having the resources to make the one from the tutorial, I did remember that I had some crochet lace doilies hanging out in my linen closet.  Not Battenberg but they would work, I thought.  I’d pulled the doilies out with plans to dye the doily and make something similar to the Urban Threads one. Well, before I had a chance to do anything with it, I was working on Katie’s dress.

tryon1We’d removed these straps that held up the dress because they kept slipping down her shoulders and they were sequined so they scratched her.  But having done that, her shoulder line seemed rather bare, and the demure necklace she’d planned on wearing was dwarfed by the expanse of skin.  She needed something… and that’s when I remembered the lace collar I was planning to make.  I cut the central element out of the doily, then sliced the remaining circle open so that I could slip the doily around her neck.  Immediately it made a difference!  So I was set in motion to turn the doily into something special.  I had the satin-covered buttons we’d taken off the back of her wedding dress, and the sequined straps.  I just needed some bits-and-bobs to decorate it.

1146441_10152369812525337_974267035_nI hand-stitched the straps to accent the swooping line of each scallop, and I placed the satin-covered buttons in the center of each bow where the peak of each swoop met.  I have an extensive collection of beads, and found some golden pearls that matched the pearls in her dress beautifully; these I dangled with head pins from the center of each scallop around the collar.  The centerpiece is the only thing we purchased for the collar, a simple pearl and crystal brooch from a craft store.

1891278_10152369812770337_282980472_nOn the back of the collar, the long dangles were a happy accident.  We’d been trying different pairs of my pearl earrings on Katie to see which ones would look nice, and I needed a place to set some of the pairs so without thinking, I hooked the ear wire through the back of her collar.  We liked the look of it so much that I incorporated dangling pearls into the piece. The back of the collar where I cut it open is closed with a bit of bias tape and more buttons from the back of Katie’s dress.

steampunk-collar1A few months later, I was working on my Halloween Costume– a Steampunk affair that I recently blogged about.  I was in a huge hurry to finish the costume because an online writer was going to feature my creations in an article she wrote.  Initially I’d planned on making a cravat to go with the costume; but the experience with Katie’s wedding collar changed my mind.  I dyed the doily black using Rit dye, and proceeding in a similar way to that which I used for Katie’s piece, I bejeweled the crocheted lace with satin cord, large crystals, lacy ribbons, and a faceted button.

steampunkcastle1The collar was absolutely perfect.   It fit the theme of what I was wanting to portray without going overboard.  I’d initially tried to use the dangling chain like in the Urban Threads tutorial, but the scale of my crocheted lace was too heavy for it and the chain just looked all wrong.  I’m happier with it this way too, because the faceted button at the center front has more of a vintage-y feel than the chain would have.  I could have used black pearls like I did in Katie’s piece, but I didn’t have any and I was wanting to keep this as inexpensive as possible.  Not including the cost of the doilies when I bought them (I have no idea since it was decades ago), I’d say the collars cost me less than $10 each to make.

I want to thank Urban Threads again for such a great inspiration!

Disc Golf Cart Conversions

Inova brand starter disc golf carrying bag

Inova brand starter disc golf carrying bag

When Allen and I started playing Disc Golf, we bought these beginner carrying bags from the sporting goods store.  They are by Inova and look alot like vinyl 6-pack coolers you’d take to work with your lunch in it.  Not bad for under $20, really.  They’ll hold half a dozen discs comfortably, or stuffed full with about 10 discs.  They have a mesh pocket on the side for a water bottle.  Mine is the red one shown here;  Allen’s is blue.  They have an adjustable strap that clips on at the sides and is removable.  There’s a zippered pocket inside for things like your phone and keys, so that you don’t accidentally lose them if your bag tips over.

We had seen alot of people using all-terrain strollers to carry their disc golf bags, and a chance conversation with another player got us one for $25.  It came in very handy we noticed, especially as Allen’s disc collection started rapidly expanding.  He needed room to carry all of those discs!  But soon the loose discs in the stroller were overflowing and he needed a solution.  Being the incredibly creative man that he is, he bought some jeans at a thrift store, some aluminum solid core flats, and designed his own disc organizer.  It measures 10 inches wide by 19 inches long.

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The outside pockets of the jeans allow him the freedom to hold a LOT of stuff, and the zippered pockets provide that same safety for keys, wallet, and cellphone.  The rainbow suspenders from his early 1980’s college days allowed us to secure the homemade disc carrier to the stroller so that stuff didn’t fall out.  But we soon ran into a problem… the carrier is longer than the seat of the stroller, and the weight of the discs in the bag was causing the bag to indent on the bottom supports.  We were concerned that eventually the aluminum would bend.  So Allen devised a solution:  to create a wooden extension for the stroller that not only supports the bag, but also provides a seat for him if he’s waiting for other players to throw.

allen-conversion Allen-wooden-platform

The platform isn’t attached to the stroller, it just balances on the stroller seat and the frame supports.  That way when we put everything in the trunk of our sedan, the stroller folds up and the platform lays on top of the folded stroller.  If he doesn’t want to sit on the seat area, he can fit a small cooler on there and just bungee cord it to his stroller.  We’ve found that he can use this stroller at all but the most challenging courses.  Many times he’s discovered that the people he’s playing with have asked him if he wouldn’t mind carrying this or that…

10345992_10152544065860337_5799687733227808851_nUntil recently I was happy with my own small Inova starter bag.  But my chiropractor begged to differ!  She said the weight of the bag was causing me some shoulder problems and strongly suggested I find an alternative.  In discussing that with Allen, we decided investing in another stroller was outside our budget.  But didn’t we have a couple of golf bag carts from our traditional golf playing days…??  And indeed we did.  I strapped my Inova starter bag to it to see if it would fit.  In fact I used it this way (minus the cooler, that was just for laughs) for a week or two.  But then my daughter/daughter-in-law/husband got together and came up with a better idea.

golf-cart-conversionThe girls bought me some fabric for outdoor patio furniture and Allen cut a 2×6 to fit the height and width of the golf cart when it’s folded closed.  We bolted the wood to the cart to make it sturdy, then the fabric disc holder ties onto the wood and cart frame to hold my discs.  I LOVE IT.  Saves my back, makes it easy to get to the disc I want, and when I add pockets to the back I’ll be able to hold a water bottle, zipper pouches, etc.  This all folds down and lays in the trunk of the car along with Allen’s stroller.  Both conversions together (aside from the cost of the stroller and golf cart) were under $50.

 

 

 

Overbust corset #1 (Part 3)

1794543_10152373552950337_142070621_nI finished this corset-turned-waistcoat for my Steampunk costume for Halloween.  (You can see Part 1 of this project here, and Part 2 here.)  I used Butterick 5662 as my pattern – I chose it for the modern hourglass silhouette.  It’s a recently published pattern that doesn’t have many online reviews, but I really like it.  There is a gentle waistline without too dramatic an indentation, plenty of room for the ribcage to expand, and isn’t so short at the bottom hemline that belly chub squishes out.

Along with sewing this corset, I also made a blouse, hat, fingerless gloves, and bejeweled lace collar.  I wore it with the skirt that I’d made for my Renaissance costume and the Steampunk-esque shoes I found at Sears.
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Things I’ll do differently next time:

  • Where it sits on my natural waist, it pushes the rest of the corset upward, creating space above the shoulder straps.  I’m short-waisted and should have adjusted the pattern down to account for that.
  • Where the points are in front, it’s too long and digs into my lap when I sit.  I should have adjusted the waist-to-hem length or made the points shallower.
  • Where the laces meet in back, it’s too easy to completely close the corset, so I’ll have to make the back center panels narrower.  I also need to make the modesty panel lace through the laces at two points instead of only one (it shifted on me and took the laces with it).
  • Where the bottom hem is on the sides, I’d like it to come lower on my hip next time, to make it a longline corset. Of course I’ll have to adjust the hip spring for that, but it’s fine.

I’m already planning a new corset using this pattern.  It’ll be an overbust without the straps, and my plan is for it to be a corset I’ll wear under clothing instead of on top.

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