Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Flower Fun Mini Top Hat

I found some printed felt and couldn't resist. Isn't it CUTE? Adorned with ribbons, pink wire, glass crystals.

As you can see it's clipped on with a barrett so it doens't fall off. I tested this by vigorously shaking my head.

Ok Ok I admit it's not perfectly round, I did cut the fabric by hand and hand sew it (cause my sewing machine was broken), but it's still cute.

Materials:  Printed Felt, Beads, Wire, Hair Barrettes

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Book Review - The Way of Kings

Gotta love the Michael Whelan cover art.
If you like epic fantasy, this is a must-read book. I just finished it last week and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's hard to put down!

This is the first book of a new multi-volume epic saga by Brandon Sanderson (Twttier: @BrandonSandrson), the guy who is finishing Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time saga. It is obvious that a lot of thought and effort has been put into this novel, from the gorgeous cover by Michael Whelan, to the maps and drawings inside the book and the text itself.

The story comes full circle from beginning to end as a stand-alone novel should, and yet it leaves you at changing point, looking forward to what the characters will do in the next volume. You follow three main characters on their separate, yet converging journeys. The author also bounces around other viewpoints of minor characters, which might be confusing (especially at the beginning) for those who are not used to stories of epic proportions, but I liked it; it is a tell-tale sign of an epic. Plus, the story didn't feel rushed or lengthly. I enjoy a 1001-page book that isn't boring but also isn't over too fast.

I really love the world that Sanderson creates for this saga. The driving theme is storms, and he brings that into everything from the landscapa, flora and fauna to the style of warfare and the magic system itself. It's truly unique and makes this story stand apart from stereotypical warrior/magic fantasy stories. The story doesn't start in a tavern, it starts on a battlefield. This book is action-packed!

I can't wait for the next installment. Are there more potential Radiants we will meet? Will Kaladin and Shallan hook up? What is the deal with the Heralds?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Favors with a Message

A fun way to do party favors is to make the favors part of the decor by using them to spell out the reason for the celebration! I made these favors for a baby shower (if that wasn't obvious).

Each gift is associated with one letter so each guest can pick which letter they want.

Monograms are all the rage now! Even if your name doesn't start with B, it's still cute.

I also made a couple of brown-wrapped packages for game prizes.

Fabric - soft light blue cotton fabric with a tight weave that doesn't fray easily on the edges
Ties - raffia strands
Paint - gold fabric paint
Favor Gifts - small scented votive candles in glass

Paint brush - flat square edge with nylon bristles
Fabric shears
Pencil or chalk and the means of creating a circle (large bowl, pin and string, etc.)

1. Determine how large of a circle you need to wrap each favor.
2. Trace circles onto your fabric with white chalk or a pencil.
3. Cut out the circles carefully with fabric shears - they don't have to be perfect circles but the edges should be smooth, without notches or frays.
4. Steam press the fabric circles.
5. Wrap each favor by placing it in the center of a fabric circle, gathering up the edges and securing with a strand of raffia, tied with an overhand knot and then a simple bow.
6. Trim the edges of the raffia strand with scissors.
7. Hand-paint letters on the front of each favor with fabric paint.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Moyashimon Yeast Party

I attacked my friend with Yeast (characters from the Moyashimon anime).

We shaped these out of Foam Air Dry Clay so they're very light. Then we glued them to a t-shirt. Little dab of paint for the mouth and a Sharpie for their eyes.


Materials: Modeling Clay, Sharpie, Craft Paint

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Quick Quilted Pillow Project

I made this pillow! Isn't it adorable?

I had fun picking out whimsical fabrics from my bloated collection of fat quarters.

I especially love the yellow print; it looks like it was inspired by Mary Blair! I tried to pick out coordinating fabrics that also looked like they could belong in a Mary Blair painting.

How To Make this 8"x12" Pillow:
Note: This pillow is pretty small; if I did this project again I would probably make it 12"x16" instead, or at least 10"x14".
  1. Cut out strips of fabric 9" long and of different widths from five coordinating fabrics.
  2. Sew the fabric strips together with half-inch seam allowances
  3. Cut out a 9"x13" piece of fabric for the back and two duplicates of backing fabric (I used a plain yellow fabric which I had leftover from a Gryffindor Quidditch robe)
  4. Sandwich quilting batting between your nice fabric and the plain fabric (make two "sandwiches").
  5. Quilt the layers of each sandwich together by hand-sewing with three strands of embroidery threads in vertical lines one inch apart, alternating between two lines of orange and two lines of lime green thread.
  6. After quilting both the front and back sandwiches, put the two quilted pieces together back-to-back and sew the edges (except for 4 inches on the bottom).
  7. Clip the corners, then turn it right-side out and press
  8. Stuff with polyester fill and hand-sew the opening closed.
  9. Ta-da!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Clubs and Spaces Reversible Crowns

These crowns are made from felt.  Being double layered it's stiff enough to stand up; being felt it's soft enough to easily flip inside out.  Thus I've got two layers of colors. 

These playing card themes are always popular for Alice in Wonderland themed pictures and parties.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Craft Room Organization

A well-organized space is essential to productivity!

Allow me to give you a tour of my craft room...

My sewing corner is over by the windows. All of my sewing supplies (and even some of my painting supplies) are close at hand in nifty storage cubes. My desk is actually a dining table I got at Ikea when I used to live in a tiny studio apartment. To the right of my desk (unpictured) is my ironing board so I don't have to move very far from my sewing machine to press seams.

I discovered this fabric storage idea online at IKEA sells these great wire baskets and frames for very affordable prices. I purchased two sets for a total of 12 baskets stacked floor-to-ceiling.

The wire baskets allow my fabrics to breath while also allowing me to easily see all of the different fabrics I have available to me.

I sorted the fabrics by color and hung little labels on the on baskets!

The labels are small pieces of wood I purchased at Michael's and spray-painted with chalkboard paint. Then I used white chalk to write on the color names. I hung them with mini binder clips.

If I ever need to get more in the future it will be easy enough to pick up more of these stackable, modular baskets!

Over the years I have ended up with so many little small organizers that it made sense to repurpose a tall wardrobe as a shelving unit to house them all. Now, whenever I need buttons, snaps, hook-and-eyes, Velcro or other odds and ends I know to look behind door number one!

I dedicated a separate little center for my paper crafts and ribbons. I usually separate my paper crafts from my sewing so it makes sense to keep all of the scrapbooking/paper supplies and tools separate too.

I transformed a wine rack into a bookshelf! It holds my books related to crafts, sewing, fashion, costume design, stage makeup, etc.

On the lower shelf are my "idea binders", which are full of doodles and notes... creative inspiration,sketches, small patterns and diagrams for quilts. 
Two of the idea binders are plain white ones, the kind that you can slip paper into the front of. I customized them with pretty scrapbooking paper to make the binders a little more attractive.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wire Flower

I was flipping through a magazine and found a flower made from wires.  I think I did a pretty cute job of making something similar. 

How To
1) Loop some wires around a rolling pin to make some circles for the petals
2) Wrap more wire around where the ends of the loops meet and create a knot through all the loops around that point
3) Twist the circles around the knot point into the flower pattern as shown above
4) use a thin beading wire or string loop in and around the knot point, stringing beads along the way

So what can this be used for?  Lots of guys suggested a brooch (I didn't know guys in their twenties thought brooches were fashionable) while the girls liked it to be a hair accessory.  I didn't want it to be put on a clip where the clip could show, but one good suggestion was to put it on a chopstick.  In the end I just used some black bobby pins (since my hair is black) and attached it to my head as a decorative element; and off to a friend's wedding I went. 

Materials:  Wire, Beads

Monday, September 13, 2010

Painted Trees

When I tried my first paintings on canvas it was because I found some canvases on sale. Normally I just use my acrylics to paint little wood boxes, plastic blasters and Jedi comlinks, little things like that. So for my first painting on actual canvas I decided to try and learn from one of my favorite artists, Eyvind Earle.

I started painting the background and just layered on the green then mixed in some black and came in from the edges with strokes to look like grass or vines.

After getting the background the way I wanted it and letting it dry, I found a picture of an Eyvind Earle painting online and basically tried to copy the look of the tree without getting quite as detailed. His lines are too painstakingly perfect for my amateur ability so I took a more impressionistic approach and focused more on getting the idea of the shadows and highlights conveyed. I like how it starts with a silhouette but adds the contrasting white highlights to give the tree some depth. I noticed that a lot of amateur artists are doing the black tree silhouette-on-a-colored background thing right now. It's easy and can look great in a modern room. I am still trying to figure out where to put it in my new house.

I received a request from a friend to do a tree painting for her after she saw the first one I did. This is what I came up with based off of the following criteria she presented me with:

- whimsical like the Eyvind Earle-style tree
- mysterious (not obvious) background
- light-colored background but not too light
- "green is good"

I started this one by painting the background. I liked how subtle vertical stripes fading into the background color can look like trees in a fog, so I started with fat green vertical stripes blending into a yellow background and then painted over them with another layer of yellow.

Next, I added in the grass in several layers of shades of green but decided that the grass really should be the foreground, so after painting on the tree silhouette I repainted a lot more grass over the bottom of the tree. The nice thing about painting grass this way is you can keep adding on as many layers as you want and it just gives the illusion of more depth.

It's now hanging on the wall in my friend's home up in Victoria, BC!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Costumes at PAX 2010

Here it is: a blog post dedicated to Cosplay at PAX 2010!

Rini's Final Fantasy costume! Totally rocking the pink hair.
It wouldn't be a geeky convention without cosplay! As PAX has grown in size over the last few years the number of cosplaying attendees has also increased. We had fun running around and taking pictures of people in costumes.

Latte is a convenient Bag of Holding for conventions.
I didn't wear a costume to PAX because I'm still working on my World of Warcraft Priest costume! Argh! Must finish! - Avalyn

Really great Kerrigan costume from StarCraft! Amazing!

A Penny Arcade costume! From the Automata strip.

Just a cute outfit? Asked if she was doing Lolita but she wasn't.
Adding another picture of her because her outfit is sooooo cute -SmallRiniLady
Stylin' HarleyQuinn
Mass Effect group - great-looking armor!

It's Ulala from Space Channel 5

Barf from Space Balls! Apparently he is friends with the chick from The Fifth Element.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Gothic Lolita Dress (Frilly PettyCoat part 2)

Now it's time to take a deeper look into that Lolita outfit that was presented in the Frillllly Petticoat from earlier this week.

Puffed shoulders, and GIANT bow,  how more Lolita can you get?  Then there's the coloring, it's black. . . .

Woooo, laces give it that corset look.  You might think I added this for its prettiness when in reality I didn't know how to make a dress a proper size and didn't have my subject matter, ~cough~ I mean my friend Hannah around to measure and stuff.  Besides, I'm still a novice, self-taught sewer.  So my tricky work around is to put in these ties which could tighten or loosen to fit whoever is wearing it.  Think of it as a prettified elastic band.

3/4 View

Posed as a model should always be to show off clothing.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

PAX 2010

We went to PAX on Saturday!

For those who dont know, PAX is the Penny Arcade Expo which basically is the Video Game Convention for geeky Seattle. WOOHOOOO for the OVER 52 THOUSAND people who showed up!!!

We completed a quest, acquired some PHAT LEWTS and defeated a DRAGON!

Screenshot or it didn't happen? BOOYAH:

Ava tanks the beast while Rini deploys a creative offensive strategy.
Symbiote Studios sent us on a quest! We had to run around the exhibition halls and advertise for Symbiote at different vendors. As a quest reward we got toys from Symbiote! Symbiote actually makes some cool stuff, they are working on Fraggle Rock figures now!

Symbiote gave us a Dr Tran and a Ninja toy.  Who's Dr Tran? Apparently it's a YouTube hit.  Off to YouTube I go once I'm done here.

To the magical #th world of an unknown floor

To the shop of the table top gamer for the almightly 20-sided dice

This is a the biggest cardboard standee ever. It's a Deiva (demi-goddess) named Aiva from the MMORPG Aion.

If I had serious skills I would love to do this as a costume! Ironically my latest main character in WoW was actually named Aiva (Ava and Avalyn were already taken on the Gorgonnash server) but when I played Aion I used a different name.
- Avalyn
This might just be my favorite giant prop in the exhibition hall - the area dedicated to a new game called Rift had some weird giant plant conglomoration handing from the ceiling with fruity orbs pulsing with faint illuminescence amid a mass of floral and vines.
- Avalyn

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Leaves of Green

My husband loves to leave pens all over the kitchen. I don't mind one or two, but when you have an assortment of five or six or twelve of them all over you know it's time to find them a home.

Thus began my quest for a pencil cup. I wasn't anticipating a craft project, but I found this cute, simple wooden pen/pencil-holder and decided it would be fun to paint it!

I really liked the wood look so when I slapped on the green paint I kept it watered down and thin so the wood could show through.

The white leaf detail was added because the plain green looked sad and lonely.

After I made the pencil cup I decided I needed to make... a matching dishtowel!

The leaves are made of green linen scraps and the stem is green embroidery thread. I acquired the plain white towel at Target.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Frilllllllly Petticoat

This is a cute skirt that I made for a Lolita outfit. The bottom trim is 23ft long.

When you spin in circles it floats up; it's so cute.

I've used it many different ways: Just as a skirt, as a petticoat to puff up a victorian outfit, or as a petticoat that peaks out of a Lolita outfit.

Here's a picture of the original outfit that this was made for.

Materials:  Fabric, zipper

Friday, September 3, 2010


Err... what's a pillowbox?

They are boxes... which kinda look like pillows once you pinch the sides and pop them into shape.

They make great wrapping for any occasion, such as wedding favors, baby or bridal shower favors, or other small gifts like candy or gift cards. You can purchase plain white pillowboxes in bulk at a craft store or

One piece of 12x12" scrapbook paper was more than enough to decorate two boxes and I used some of the scraps to create coordinating gift tags. Ivory satin and organza ribbon leftover from my wedding added the finishing touch.

Materials (for 2 boxes):
- 2 Blank white pillowbox
- 1 sheet of 12x12 scrapbook paper
- Satin ribbon about 1" wide
- Thin organza ribbon or string (to attach the gift tag)
- Scissors and ruler or a paper cutter
- Double-stick tape
- Standard hole punch

1. Measure the length and width of the pillowbox. Cut a piece of scrapbook paper so that the width is about 1 cm less than the length of the pillowbox and the length of the paper is 1 to 3 cm greater than twice the width of the pillowbox. Measurements do not need to be exact, just close. From the leftover paper, cut a second piece the same size for your second box and hang on to the leftover scraps until step three (3).

2. Wrap the decorative paper around the pillowbox lining up one edge with the edge of the box. The box should be completely wrapped, plus a little extra. Crease the paper in two places where the pillowbox is creased, then secure the paper in place with double-stick tape. The extra lenth on one end should be taped underneath the opposite edge which is aligned with the pillowbox edge. Repeat this for your second box.

3. From the paper remnants cut two pieces of paper which are about 1.5" x 3". Fold each in half and punch a hole in one of the corners near the fold.

4. Thread a piece of thin organza ribbon through the hole in the gift tag and tie a knot to join the ends in a loop. Repeat on the second gift tag.

5. Pinch the pillowboxes into shape and fold down the curved edges. Insert gift card or candy (or other surprise!).

6. Tie a wide satin ribbon around the pillowbox to secure the ends. First tie an overhand knot, then slip the looped ribbon on the gift card over one end of the satin ribbon. Finish tying the satin ribbon in a bow or double-knot. Repeat for the second pillowbox.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Costume Progress - WoW Priest 0.1

Project: World of Warcraft - Priest Tier 4 armor set from Karazhan

Start Date: Sometime back in (Spring?) 2008 when Tier 4 Armor was common and Tier 5 was uber. (But Tier 5 Priest costumes have been done SO many times already!)

Original Goal: BlizzCon 2008

Realistic Goal: Halloween 2010

Why Tier 4? Because it's PURPLE more ways than one! And because I played a priest and fondly recall the early days of conquering Karazhan one boss at a time with my wonderful guild <Retribution> a.k.a. <Negative Progression>.

2008 - the sorry state I left the costume in, before I got married. Notice the bridal bouquets scattered about. Wedding projects were more important at this point.

2008 - sleeves under construction
This time I am actually going to finish this project. Why? Because I have developed a Most Excellent Project Plan and Timeline!

Click for detail.
Over the last week I have already made a lot of progress! This time around I am going to finish it. Really, I am!

I aim to complete one piece each week, and that will give me three weeks before Halloween to complete finishing touches and details like footwear, hair and makeup. Wish me luck!

Seriously, by the time I finish this costume, Blizzard will be reusing the graphics for this armor set for Priest Tier 17.5 (if they haven't already!).